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How Can I tell if I have Bed Bugs?

Bed Bug University

Bed Bug University

Bed Bug Detection

Bed bugs are very hard to detect in the early stages. Most people will bring bed bugs home and be bitten for a while before they realize that what has been happening is bed bugs. By this point the bed bugs have already become established enough for you to notice them and may have more than one nest or harborage area. When it’s that first pregnant bed bug that has slipped into your belongings you would not know because they are great at hiding and can wait out your sleepless nights. Folks are more likely to have “signs” of bed bugs verses actually seeing the bed bug in an early infestation.

Signs being such things as: bites, blood smears on white sheets, inky fecal spots, itching, castings or shells left by the bedbugs, etc.

Where Bed Bugs Hide

Bed bugs can hide and live anywhere, but it is common for them to hide at the head of the bed or the foot of the bed. Research out of University of Florida indicates that bed bug detecting canines are about 98% accurate when trained correctly. They have proved useful in hotel and vacation rental inspections. You can also Google ways to make bed bug traps for around ten bucks using carbon dioxide (dry ice) as well as using such things as interceptors and climb ups. You can build a bed bug trap by using a two gallon drink cooler, a plastic dog dish, masking tape and dry ice and there are several sites on Google that go explain how to do this.

Bed Bug Trap

Since bed bugs cannot climb up smooth surfaces you can place a Climbup (find online) or even just a clean glass jar on the legs of your bed frame to prevent bed bugs from leaving the baseboards and climbing up into your bed at night. If you find bed bugs in the Mason jar then you will know for a fact you have them, however the traps will not catch them all and you will still need to treat for them. (Bed bugs that try to crawl down off the bed and back into their hiding spots will get stuck in the jar unable to climb out.) Sometimes you can have bed bugs and they will avoid climbing up the frame and instead climb down from pictures or climb up on a blanket that’s touching the floor. Recently, research has shown that traps that have both heat and carbon dioxide may attract bed bugs as well and he suspects more and more such products will be out on the market soon.  These traps are good for finding bed bugs, but not at getting rid of them.

Bed Bug Detection

If needing to detect bedbugs you should watch for fecal liquid “black inky” stuff which is often found on mattresses, sheets, headboards, walls, on and around plug covers, etc. Use a good flashlight with LED type lights and a good magnifying glass and you will be able to spot bed bugs better than with the eye alone.

In our experience a homeowner finds bed bugs more in the mattress, box spring and bed frame or in couches where people may be sleeping. In a hotel the top hiding place seems to be the head board area.

When searching for bed bugs have a mindset that they are like invisible germs even though they are not invisible, they are good at hiding in all kinds of cracks, crevices, baseboards, etc. Pretty much any place you can slide a sheet of paper a bed bug can go.

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